Tag Archives: Race

Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


New York Times/James C. McKinley Jr.—Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on December 13, 2009, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker, the city controller, had defeated Mr. Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

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Statement by Mayor-Elect Parker:

To my Friends, Supporters and all Houstonians,

In this campaign, I met many Houstonians.

I met fathers worried about finding a good job. I met mothers worried about crime. I met young men and women who only want a chance for a good education. Families worried about taxes. Homeowners who just want to protect the neighborhood they love. Hear me: the city is on your side.

I learned about the problems and the needs and the hopes of our city at the neighborhood level, where families work and live. This election has changed the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, just as this election is about transforming Houstonians’ lives for the better.

Let us begin from this moment to join as one community, united in the goal of making Houston the city it could be, should be, can be and will be. That’s what this city will be about under my administration.

Houston is a city that invites entrepreneurs – and shelters evacuees. A diverse city. A city built on dreams powered by hard work, creativity, common sense and cooperation.

Public service is a noble calling, and I appreciate that Gene Locke was willing to answer this call. He is a man who has been deeply involved in our community for many years and I hope he will continue to serve Houston. I wish for him and his family the very best.

Let me close by saying that while this is an exciting night, it is also a humbling experience. Our citizens deserve our best effort and I pledge to give them an administration that values honesty, integrity and transparency above all else. My administration will be concerned with only one interest: the public good.

Thank you so much. Together, we will make a difference.

Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Note: Though the race for Houston mayor is strictly non-partisan, she identifies as a Democrat, as did her opponent, Gene Locke.

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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Filed under Change, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Democrats, Elections, Gay (LGBT) Rights, History, Houston, TX, Mayors, Media and Entertainment, News, Politics, Texas, United States, Women's Issues

Racial Re-thinking as President Obama Visits China

Increasing diversity, born out of boom, forces Chinese to confront old prejudices

Lou JingWashington Post/Keith B. Richburg—As a mixed-race girl growing up in this most cosmopolitan of mainland Chinese cities, 20-year-old Lou Jing said she never experienced much discrimination — curiosity and questions, but never hostility.

So nothing prepared Lou, whose father is a African American, for the furor that erupted in late August when she beat out thousands of other young women on “Go! Oriental Angel,” a televised talent show. Angry Internet posters called her a “black chimpanzee” and worse. One called for all blacks in China to be deported.

As the country gets ready to welcome the first African American U.S. president, whose first official visit here starts Sunday, the Chinese are confronting their attitudes toward race, including some deeply held prejudices about black people. Many appeared stunned that Americans had elected a black man, and President Obama’s visit has underscored Chinese ambivalence about the growing numbers of blacks living here.

As China has expanded its economic ties with Africa — trade between them reached $107 billion last year — the number of Africans living here has exploded. Tens of thousands have flocked to the south, where they are putting down roots, establishing communities, marrying Chinese women and having children.

In the process, they are making tiny pockets of urban China more racially diverse — and forcing the Chinese to deal with issues of racial discrimination. In the southern city of Guangzhou, where residents refer to one downtown neighborhood as Chocolate City, local newspapers have been filled in recent months with stories detailing discrimination and alleging police harassment against the African community.

Lou sees similarities between her life and Obama’s: She also grew up without her father, whom she never knew. obamachinaUN-Climate-change-meeting-002-300x180 She read Obama’s autobiography and watched his campaign speeches on television. She learned how to chant “Yes, we can!” in English and calls Obama “my idol.

Reading the withering online criticisms of her talent-show appearance, she recalled, she came across one post that asked: “Now that Obama is president, does that mean a new day for black people has arrived?

“I think the answer is yes,” she said. “Some Chinese people’s perceptions of black people here have been transformed.”

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Oriental Angel‘ Triggers China Race Row

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theage.com.au—An instructor at Shanghai Drama Academy, where Lou studies broadcasting, put forward the mixed-race beauty and a handful of classmates to appear on the television talent show, without asking first.

She was selected for the top 30 nationwide, but was not among the 12 contestants chosen by judges for the next round.

Lou said she was not surprised by the judges’ decision, but was shocked by the thousands of web postings that followed, most of them negative and many of them expressing racist views.

I couldn’t help crying. I felt hurt. I never meant to offend anyone,” she said.

Although Lou is still working towards her dream of being a television presenter, she said the episode had left her less optimistic about whether she can find a place on China’s airwaves.

They want a TV host who is considered traditionally beautiful,” she said.

Ever since I appeared on TV, I realized that maybe I don’t fit the image of a TV host. Many believe a TV host should have white skin, high nose and big eyes.”

Lou said she would follow Obama’s visit to China, listing the US president — himself of mixed-race descent — as one of her heroes alongside her mother and Oprah Winfrey, whose show she watches over the Internet.

She said Obama’s autobiography had inspired her, but added that she was unconvinced she could change people’s minds about race.

He convinced people that he has the capacity to change what people thought of African-Americans. Compared to him, I don’t have that capacity for change because the Chinese media is too powerful,” she said.

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Filed under Africa, African-Americans, Barack Obama, Change, China, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Geneology, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, TV Shows, Video/YouTube, World

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Recorded_Attacks_wall02_1280x800Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

From the Stone Age to the information age, the undead have threatened to engulf the human race. They’re coming. They’re hungry.

Don’t wait for them to come to you!

This is the graphic novel the fans demanded: major zombie attacks from the dawn of humanity. On the African savannas, against the legions of ancient Rome, on the high seas with Francis Drake . . . every civilization has faced them. Here are the grisly and heroic stories–complete with eye-popping artwork that pulsates with the hideous faces of the undead.

timthumbOrganize before they rise!

Scripted by the world’s leading zombie authority, Max Brooks, Recorded Attacks reveals how other eras and cultures have dealt with–and survived–the ancient viral plague. By immersing ourselves in past horror we may yet prevail over the coming outbreak in our time.

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The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks

Download the PDF of the first chapter!

They have attacked Roman armies. The French Foreign Legion. Even prehistoric man. The undead have been a threat to humankind for millennia, and the living must always fight to survive. They’re coming. And they’re hungry.

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Zombies Join the Health Care Debate

After using the death panel and death book scare tactics, the only other talking point on health care reform the GOP can contrive would be Democrats turning Americans into zombies! Best-selling author Max Brooks joins Keith Olbermann to talk about the ridiculousness of the situation.

Ok, ok…I know we promised no politics today, but this was pretty funny. Max is the son of director Mel Brooks and the late actress Anne Bancroft. So he has funny in his genes.~~Audiegrl 😉

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Related Zombie Sites

The Official Zombie Survival Guide Web Site

Official World War Z Web Site

Max Brooks’ Official Web Site

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Halle, Whoopi, Grier In New ‘Divas On Screen‘ Book

Posted by Audiegrl

Grier, Dandridge and Oprah also featured in examination of ‘Black Women in American Film’

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film by Mia Mask

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film by Mia Mask

Oscar pioneers Dorothy Dandridge and Halle Berry join Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey as subjects of the new book “Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film.”

Author Mia Mask, who teaches film and drama at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., said she was inspired to write the book after noticing the huge amount of attention given to black male stars, while their female counterparts were often looked over.

These women have pushed the racial boundaries for audiences, setting new standards for beauty and body type,” Mask told the Associated Press.

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Dandridge received an Academy Award nomination for her lead role in the 1954 classic “Carmen Jones,” alongside Harry Belafonte. Berry won an Oscar in 2000 for playing the wife of an executed murderer in “Monster’s Ball.” She also had portrayed Dandridge as a stunning femme fatale in a 1999 HBO film about Dandridge’s life.

When Dandridge became a star, “she was working in an environment in which there were almost no women of color (in leading roles),” said Mask, and Dandridge “had to fit into the mold of shapely and svelte.”

Grier was chosen for her ability in the early 70s to break that mold with her forceful but hip physical presence as an action heroine. As for Winfrey, Mask said she chose her because the talk-show host’s television presence catapulted her film appearances to the level of global stardom, transcending any category.

In spite of vast changes, Mask said, sore points persist in casting black women for star roles: a paucity of quality parts, and a new trend of pairing black lead actors with female leads who are not.

Studio heads don’t think two black characters will appeal to general audiences,” said Mask.

Oscar winner, Halle Berry

Oscar winner, Halle Berry

She chose Dandridge and Berry “as bookends” for the time span that transformed black women in commercial films.

We’ve gone from the trope of the tragic (mulatto) to biracial beauty,” said Mask, who is taping a five-part series for National Public Radio to air in late October — each on one of the women in the book.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge starring Halle Berry

'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' movie poster

'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' movie poster

This bio-pic of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best Actress Nomination in 1954 for “Carmen Jones“, to her final demise to prescription drugs, which was debated whether it was suicide or accidental. Brent Spiner plays her faithful manager who stood beside her through all of the roller coaster of her career. The film also examines her love affair with director Otto Preminger, which is shown to have probably initially helped her career, but later probably led her to some wrong decisions.~~John Sacksteder

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Law Professor Confronts O’Reilly Over Fox News And The Far Right: “Fox News, Far Right Have A Race Deck, And They Play The Ace Of Spades Every Day”

Posted by TheLCster

O’Reilly tries his best to talk over Professor Levitt, an avowed Republican conservative. So right off the bat, O’Reilly was not able to dismiss him as a liberal or Democrat. I agree that all conservatives and Republicans are not racially biased against the President. But it was humorous to watch the Professor read off racially-tinged signs at Fox’s News’ 9/12 demonstrations in Washington, and ask O’Reilly why the Republican party was not discouraging this right-wing fringe behavior.

Dr. Jeremy Levitt

Dr. Jeremy Levitt

Dr. Jeremy Levitt, a law professor at Florida A&M University, confronted Bill O’Reilly tonight over Fox News’ role in fomenting racial tensions regarding President Obama. Specifically Dr. Levitt cited Glenn Beck and the network’s role in encouraging the 9/12 protests, which featured an assortment of racist signs.

Here is the link to the article written by Professor Levitt, that got O’Reilly’s attention.

President Obama, Race and the Unpatriotic Right

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Filed under Law, Media and Entertainment, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

“I Am Scared for My Black Husband”, Diary by Hotchimera

Special thanks to Hotchimera, our latest contributor to the44Diaries. Her diary is both poignant and thought-provoking, while we all try to navigate the strange new political landscape of 2009. We have heard and seen alot about how Republican’s are scared, but I thought it was important to also talk about how some African-American Democrats are scared too. In these crazy times, it cuts both ways.

DKos/Hotchimera—Everyday I pray for my husbands’s safety.

He travels really far for work on public transportation and I am worried about the environment out there.

I did not want to write this diary but the nastiness is rising so fast out there that I have to share how I feel.

The other day my daughter and I were walking to the PO and someone yelled
‘Black Bitches” at us from a driving truck.

I even worry about standing at the bus stop alone waiting for my daughter to get off the bus. The only place to stand is right on the corner of the mains street and it is very quiet and empty.

There is a Confederate flag hanging prominently on our way out of the neighborhood.

The school speech given by Obama was banned by our kid’s school with no notice sent out and my daughter really felt hurt by it.

What am I to tell her? I told her the truth.

Everytime we turn on the tv we see people ranting and raving and hating our President.

I go to bed with a feeling of disquiet every night and I go through the day with the same feeling and it is not going away.

I feel as if something is in the air: as if something is imminent.

There is a Preacher calling for the President to die.

The President is treated like a boy in Congress and the person who did it is now a hero.

Obama signs with him posed as a witch doctor.

Signs of him compared to a Gorilla.

Prominent politicians and radio personalities are spewing racist invective daily and all I see is a rabble of white angry faces screaming in support.

Then I turn on the tv this morning to see Morning Joe with Peggy Noonan and Pat Buchanan saying Democrats are playling the race card.

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The State of Denial Has Zero Electoral Votes — But It Seems to Be Winning

Written by Larry Gellman/Huffington Post

A protester at the Washington, D.C. tea party references a Department of Homeland Security report on 'rightwing extremism' that sparked criticism from conservatives.

A protester at the Washington, D.C. tea party references a Department of Homeland Security report on 'rightwing extremism' that sparked criticism from conservatives.

The Right Wing purveyors of hatred, fear, and anger have adopted a new strategy. Unfortunately, it seems to be working as well as their old one.

Until now, they have focused on spreading lies and distortions about President Obama. He is a socialist and a Nazi (an interesting combination) wants to kill granny. He wants to ruin our wonderful health care system — which is working well for virtually no one under the age of 65. He wants to run up trillions in debt — but Bush already did that. He wants to take away all our freedoms and liberties–but Bush already did that. He wants to take away our guns–but he let patriots bring assault weapons to a meeting where he spoke.

You know the drill and the litany. I thought it had gone about as far as it could go. But, as we’ve all learned, never underestimate the power of racism and hate.

Today we broke new ground. The haters on the Right are now basically saying that the election never happened. Obama didn’t really win and he’s not really our president. If he was really president, there would be nothing new or controversial about his desire to do a video address to school children regarding how important it is to study hard and stay in school.

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